More Adults, Children Use Yoga, Meditation

Adults and children seated on mats on floor, eyes closed, practicing a yoga pose

The number of American adults and children using yoga and meditation has significantly increased over previous years.

Photo: Fatcamera/Getty

Over the past 5 years, more Americans of all ages are rolling out their yoga mats and meditating. A large nationally representative survey shows that the number of American adults and children using yoga and meditation has significantly increased over previous years and that use of chiropractic care has increased modestly for adults and held steady for children.

The complementary health questionnaire was developed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The complementary health questionnaire is administered every 5 years as part of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual study in which thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences. To identify trends in Americans’ use of specific practices, 2017 survey data were compared with a version of the survey fielded in 2012.

“The 2017 NHIS survey is the most current and reliable source of information on the use of specific complementary health approaches by U.S. adults and children,” said Dr. David Shurtleff, acting director of NCCIH. “The survey data suggest that more people are turning to mind and body approaches than ever before, and the research we support at NCCIH is helping to determine the impact of those approaches on health.” 

Survey highlights for adults:

  • Yoga was the most commonly used complementary health approach among U.S. adults in 2012 (9.5 percent) and 2017 (14.3 percent). The use of meditation increased more than threefold from 4.1 percent in 2012 to 14.2 percent in 2017.
  • The use of chiropractors increased from 9.1 percent in 2012 to 10.3 percent in 2017.
  • In 2017, women were more likely to use yoga, meditation and chiropractors in the past 12 months than men. 
  • Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to use yoga, meditation and chiropractors than Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults.